Gallery: Saints suffer cup exit
National Intermediate Cup Third Round St Albans 7 Tonbridge Juddians 62 This fixture always looked difficult on paper for St Albans and so it proved to be at a very wet and windy Boggymead Spring on Saturday. Saints squad had been decimated by either inju
National Intermediate Cup Third Round
St Albans 7 Tonbridge Juddians 62
This fixture always looked difficult on paper for St Albans and so it proved to be at a very wet and windy Boggymead Spring on Saturday.
Saints squad had been decimated by either injury on unavailability. A number of players had tickets for the England - New Zealand fixture at Twickenham and four were nursing injuries. Two of these were picked up playing for the County A side in midweek. This left the coaching staff with real problems, with players having to play out of position and others being drafted in from the lower sides.
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The opposition arrived with a 100 per cent winning record in all competitions this season. Within minutes of the kick-off, it was obvious to see why.
Saints started well enough with the strong wind behind them. The opening exchanges showed that the home side indeed had something to offer. They held territory within the visitors' half for significant periods without ever looking likely to break down the visitors formidable defence.
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However, with Saints in good shape around the visitors' 22 following a series of rucks, the ball was needlessly fired out to their unsuspecting winger.
Seconds later, following an initial fly-hack, then a good pick-up and feed onto his supporting flanker, Tonbridge Juddian had duly opened their account.
This seemed to inspire the away side to greater things and in what seemed like no time at all, they led 24-0. To their credit, Saints continued to compete but found the opposition too strong. Another two scores followed before half-time to make it 38-0 at the break.
Saints needed to regroup. They now had to face the wind, which was now coupled with driving rain, in a game that was to all intents and purposes already lost.
The deteriorating conditions meant the second half descended into a scrappy affair, with the referee's whistle being heard all too often. Further scores by Tonbridge took them beyond 50 points.
Saints then scored what turned out to be a well deserved 'consolation' try, touched down by centre Martin Alderton chasing up his own charge down. This was superbly converted from the touchline by young scrum-half Harry Trude.
Two more scores from the opposition later and it was all over. Whilst the under strength St Albans could not be faulted for their endeavour, they were undone time and time again by a team who on this day, were far better.
It would be interesting to know how a full strength Saints 1st XV would have fared against this ambitious club.
The visitors have a plan to achieve National League status in two years and have recruited heavily in order to achieve this.
Next week Saints return to League duty away to Hammersmith & Fulham, welcoming back at least some of their players missing from last weekend.
St Albans: Grover, Harris, Dickinson, Alderton, Cutts, Howard, Trude: Lemiere, Weldon, O'Leary, Hillier, Allen, Huddleston, Joubert, Lane. Subs: Mineikis, Kilgallon, Sharp, Lister.